Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WCAX Airs Candidate Profile: "Let's Protect the City"

Greg Guma says Burlington is facing a turning point and it's prompted him to run as an independent for mayor. "I see myself as a community builder and a progressive manager," Guma said.

He says he's committed to building a strong Queen City, but has a vision quite different from incumbent Mayor Miro Weinberger, D-Burlington, who Guma says is rushing development. "Let's deliberate more about these things. Let's protect the city. Let's use the offices of the city to protect the city from gentrification," Guma said.

Guma has been working in Burlington for decades. His activism started in the 1970s, and since, he's twice ran unsuccessfully for City Council. Now he's asking voters to hand him the keys to the city. "I decided to run because I became very concerned about the pace and direction of where we're going," Guma said.

His campaign slogan-- "Preservation and Change"-- was based around his ideas about development. "Preserve traditions, preserve resources, preserve the things that we know work, and make this city the magnet and attractive place that it is, but change certain aspects of the way we make decisions and do business," Guma said.

He says he'll achieve that motto by focusing on improving affordability by raising the minimum wage. Guma also plans to fund Neighborhood Planning Associations to empower residents across the city. And he wants to preserve open spaces by building a coalition of environmental groups to protect them. He says Weinberger, on the other hand, is handing the city over to tourists.

"In terms of his overall vision, it really has more to do with attracting tourists and making Burlington a four-season resort," Guma said. The last candidate to enter the race, Guma is using popular social media spots like Reddit and BlogSpot to get that message across.

"You can do many things, you can build many things, but because you can, doesn't mean you should," he said. That's a statement that Guma's opponents say is antidevelopment. It's an allegation he denies, saying he's best equipped to lead the Queen City to a more prosperous future built on preserving rich tradition and changing the status quo in City Hall.

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